Creating Family Togetherness

As I've shared previously, my own childhood family was very fractured. It splintered into various branches as the years have passed, so that there are 'cliquies' within the family that only associate with one another, excluding everyone else. We are estranged from one another completely at this point.

When I married my husband I was hoping I would be accepted into his family and perhaps the fact that my own family was non-existent, wouldn't be quite as painful, but I was clearly an outsider, raised differently and a little more 'independent' (head-strong) than his family was used to. My husband was younger than me, so any decision we made, anything we did, was my 'manipulation' of or 'influence' on him. They gave him no credit for having a mind of his own.

I did develop a close relationship with my two nieces, especially my oldest niece, having been the 'older sister' myself. We did a lot of things together. The girls always wanted me to come with them, do things together and all we did when we were together was laugh.

After a misunderstanding with my oldest niece and my sister-in-law's third marriage, there was a disconnect. It escalated and the relationship ended, for nearly 10 years.

We've since reunited with my sister-in-law and youngest niece, but our oldest niece will only speak to my husband in public when he's alone. She's not even speaking to her mother at this point and she's somewhat estranged from her sister.

The other day I spoke with my sister-in-law and asked her about getting together for Thanksgiving. Last year, we hosted my husband's mother, aunt and uncle, along with my best friend of 33 years and her son - our godson. When we spoke, she was thrilled with the invitation, so this year, it would appear we are having my sister-in-law and her husband, as well as our youngest niece and her husband along with everyone who shared dinner with us last Thanksgiving. 12 of us, all totaled.

I was thrilled to learn the whole family (minus the oldest niece and her boyfriend) was going to be together. My sister-in-law seemed truly anxious to get together. We agreed to gather and share the kitchen responsibilities, so that I'm not doing the majority of the cooking myself. That will be especially nice.

After deciding to do thanksgiving together, we also agreed to have a Family Christmas Party at our house, so we could have a fire in the fireplace, music, goodies and punch, perhaps play a few games. Their family has never done something like that and it was one of the things my mother failed miserably at, when I was younger, always wanting to have the family together, but then sniping and fighting with various family members, usually ending in them leaving in a huff. I always thought it was a great idea and had the potential to be fun and create some positive memories.

We even talked about possibly getting together and doing some crafts we could give the elders in the family, from all the rest of us.

It was a great conversation, it made me feel especially good, as this is what I was hoping for, 26 years ago when I married into the family.

So, right now, we have tentative plans to be together for Thanksgiving and to have a Christmas party together. I'm excited, but I'm remaining cautious, in case something should change between now and then. I have something special to look forward to and to plan for, which really keeps me moving forward, as it can be so easy to get weighed down with worry, stress and depression.

Who knows what can come from this in the future....
rollingwithhusky rollingwithhusky
46-50, F
2 Responses Aug 6, 2010

Yes indeed... I have a good feeling about it. I'm going to try not to have expectations, but I'm hopeful. :)

That's great..I hope this will be a new and better beginning. Very refreshing to start again.